What can I do regarding issues with mold and other things in my new apartment?

We moved into our new apartment almost a week ago. Upon paying the security deposit, we left a list of things

with our leasing agent/maintainence guy that needed to be taken care of before we moved in, including a moldy

situation under the sink. We were assured that these things would be taken care of. They were not, most

specifically the mold under the sink was just covered up with a board. I immediatley allerted my landlord and they

are not taking care of the situation. We were also lied to that the mold had been tested and cleaned up. I have this

in writing in an email. I’m pretty much ready to find a new place.

Asked on June 10, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF the mold and/or other issues actually impair habitability--make the unit unsafe to live in or unfit for habitation--and your landlord has not addressed the issue(s) despite written notice and a reasonable amount of time to do so, you may be able to terminate the lease early under the doctrine of "constructive eviction"--i.e. under the idea that you have been forced out (evicted) by unhealthy conditions.
But bear in mind that this is a risky strategy: if you move out on this basis and the landlord sues you for the rent, if a court disagrees with you and decides that the premises was still fit to be lived in (not perfect, but safe to inhabit), then you could be held liable for up to all the unpaid rent for the remainder of the lease term, even if you have moved out.
Safer might be to withhold rent until the conditions are fixed. Again, first make sure the landlord had written notice of the issues and a chance to address them. Then if he doesn't, withhold part or all of the rent;  *important*--keep the withheld rent safe and available. When he tries to evict for nonpayment, tell the court you have the money and did pay because the landlord refused to fix mold, etc. If the court agrees with you, it can order the repairs be done and that the landlord only get the rent when they are. If the court disagrees, you'll have to pay the rent to avoid eviction--but because you kept the rent safe, you can do this.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.